Active Shooter Response vs. Hostage Survival

Comparing Active Shooter Response to Hostage Survival

On the 25th of January, in Canton Township, MI, a bank became suspect to a hostage situation. “When officers arrived, Rodriguez [suspect] had barricaded himself inside the bank along with three hostages, all bank employees, Meier [Director of Public Safety] said. Witness told police one male suspect entered the bank with a handgun and announced a robbery.” (Logsdon, 2018). The situation was resolved peacefully with the suspect surrendering to Law Enforcement.

However, what would have happened if the people in the bank responded like standard Active Shooter Response guidance promotes? Furthermore, is the situation that occurred in Michigan considered an Active Shooter event? With the increase in demand for Active Shooter Response Training in the workplace, a key question needs to be answered is: how do you differentiate a Hostage vs Active Shooter situation, and how should you respond in each one?

The majority of current Active Shooter Response Training consists of three primary components: get out or run, hide and barricade, and as a last option to defend yourself for the sake of your life. Had the individuals involved in this Michigan incident responded using Active Shooter guidance however, the outcome may have been very different. In this case, the suspect was attempting a robbery, and no shots were fired…meaning the individuals involved were in a Hostage vs. Active Shooter situation.

One of the most successful training models to prepare individuals to survive a crisis is called Stress Inoculation Training. It was initially developed by Dr. Albert Biderman and a panel of experts working for the Department of Defense following the Korean War. Their task was to create a method to train military personnel to survive the rigors of captivity and return with honor. By presenting increasingly challenging scenarios to individuals, who have previously been academically instructed and had a chance to apply the instruction in role-play scenarios to achieve success, students gain confidence, resilience and the fortitude to overcome increasingly demanding obstacles.

Contact us if you are interested in learning more about how to train your personnel to recognize and respond to either a Hostage or Active Shooter situation.

Logsdon, K. (2018, January 29). FBI Identifies Suspect in Canton Bank Robbery, Hostage Situation. Retrieved from M Live: